Saturday, December 05, 2009


We’ve been declared a “nuisance.” Well, our lot next door has been cited as a nuisance by the County Environmental Health Department.

“Nuisance includes anything which is injurious to human health or is indecent or offensive to the senses and interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property, and affects at the same time an entire community or neighborhood. …” (California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 17225.45)

Indecent or offensive! That sounds bad.

Our neighborhood consists of five (5) houses and some vacant land

We live in house #2. House #1 is a rental. Neighbor “S” lives in house #3, neighbor “M” lives in house #4, and neighbor “P” lives in house #5. Only three cars drive past the offensive lot. Neighbor M told us she does not find the lot offensive. However, neighbor S turned us in to the Health Department. The photo below shows what neighbor S can see from inside her fenced yard.

We are required by the Fire District to keep our weeds down to prevent fires. According to the district’s Battalion Chief, “mulching is an acceptable weed control method.” So, we mulch the lot with grass clippings and ground tree branches. Every spring we have our friend, Russell, completely clear the lot with his big mower.

We’ve now been told that we must “cease and desist the collection and storage of yard trimmings and any other green material” on our lot. They told us to “remove the yard trimming waste and dispose of this waste to a licensed facility.” And, we have to provide documentation to CCEH within 30 days. They plan to re-inspect the property (at $185 per hour) to determine compliance.

Our complaining neighbor S’s fence is falling down and she is using boards on our lot to keep it propped up. In June of this year we removed our fig tree from the lot because it was bothering her. We called it the Fig Leaf Cover-Up. You can click on the link to read about it.

I’m glad I have a blog so I can whine to the world. We do plan to appeal the complaint and even go to the County Board of Supervisors, if need be. We can tell them that the California Integrated Waste Management Board says Yard Waste accounts for about 8% of the waste discarded to landfills in California. They recommend “Grass Cycling” and using grass clippings as mulch directly from the lawn mower bag.
We are gramineous folks.

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Blogger sophie said...

That's incredible. I'm sorry you have to deal with this, especially at this time of year when we all seem to have more than enough to keep us busy.

Neighbor S sounds like a pretty unhappy person . . . I'm sorry she's taking out her unhappiness on you.

4:56 PM  
Blogger paula, the quilter said...

If you were to put down a rock mulch it would probably change the drainage of the property and could flood her house. So what you are doing now is improving the soil for garden(s). Right? When you remove the waste, take down the boards that are propping up her fence as it is on your property. What an unhappy person with nothing better to do.

There was a farmer's wheat field in this area that was declared to be urban blight and was condemned. Yes a wheat field. Then they planted a shopping mall on it.

Good luck with this. Let us know how you fare.

P.S. can you plant a windbreak of fast growing trees?

5:10 PM  
Blogger Gerrie said...

Grrrrr! I would remove the braces holding up her fence. They are surely a nuisance.

5:29 PM  
Blogger Piecefulafternoon said...

What a big pain - sorry it is troubling you - hope it resolves to your favor.

7:29 PM  
Blogger BrendaLou said...

Yes, she is a pain in the pattootie. I guess you could take down the supports on your property but that will only make her angrier and madder. I think you could make quite a case for organic mulching and runoff, etc. Keep us posted.

I wonder if a plate of home made cookies would help?

9:39 PM  
Blogger Warty Mammal said...


Perhaps the neighbor would prefer a parking lot or a sky scraper next door? Personally, after living in a developed area for two decades, I'd like a nice undeveloped lot next door.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Terry said...

This is crazy. You are being told to dispose of yard trimmings and grass clippings? You, being responsible citizens who recycle that good organic matter back into the earth, are creating a nuisance? Crazy. And looks to me like her view of your property is a lot nicer than your view of hers! Good luck with this one. I'll be interested in what happens.

8:30 AM  
Blogger black bear cabin said...

When you go in, be sure to take photos of her "reinforced" fence that's creating a "nuisance" in your yard! This woman sounds like a real piece of work...i hate having neighbors like that!
In the meantime, plant a bunch of trees along your yard to block the nosy neighbors view! :)
Hope this all gets straightened out, and in your favor!

2:04 PM  
Blogger Vicky~ stichr ~ said...

Yup, I agree with Terry, your view of her place is terrible. I like the color of her fence, but not on a fence!!!! Not on the part showing outside her yard! I think she is just taking advantage of you because you were so nice about taking down the fig tree.

10:09 AM  
Blogger Deborah said...

How frustrating and unfair, particularly at this time of year.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Collagemama said...

I'm glad you ranted. Reading the first part of your post reminded me of those deductive reasoning problems we used to get in school about the five houses of different color. The homeowners always had unusual pets. After a half hour of figuring, you would solve which color house had the kangaroo.

So, do you have a kangaroo out there with the grass clippings? I've got a note in my Permanent File because I put out too many leaf bags for collection at Dad's house. Forty-five weeks of the year the trash company has NOTHING to pick up.

4:31 PM  
Blogger Meggie said...

Good grief, I missed reading this, at the time of posting. I would suggest the propping post is trespass? The reality is, no one wishes to disagree with neighbours in the long run.... or do they??

10:57 PM  

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